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Echo and the Bunnymen

Josh Learner chats to Will Sergeant on the band's upcoming tour

Written by . Published on September 26th 2011.

Echo and the Bunnymen

1984 was the year, Ocean Rain was the album. Echo and the Bunnymen are back in a big way with the Ocean Rain UK tour. Starting on Saturday at Manchester Palace Theatre, the Liverpudlian old timers will be strutting their way through their classic album in its entirety. ‘Seven Seas’, and ‘Killing Moon’, are just a few of the classics fans will be treated to in the six gigs the have lined up around the UK.

People like our sound and we’ve always tried to make our music transcend through time and people luckily still like how we come across. We’ve stayed true to drum sounds and melodies that we’ve produced over the years.

On Monday the tour comes to the London Palladium and London Confidential caught a quick word with guitarist Will Sergeant on the impending tour:

You’re just about to embark on the Ocean Rain Tour. How do you think this album has managed to maintain relevance to today’s audience despite being released more than twenty years ago?
We’ve always tried to make our music seem timeless, we’ve never sort of wanted to over produce our music like the rap, hip-hop stuff you get today. We’ve always stuck to our way of doing things and avoided all that commercial dull stuff that comes out. I don’t know, people like our sound and we’ve always tried to make our music transcend through time and people luckily still like how we come across. We’ve stayed true to drum sounds and melodies that we’ve produced over the years.


Do you still get the same sense of passion when playing songs such as ‘Killing Moon’ and ‘Seven Seas’ despite having played them so many times?
I guess I never really listen to any of the tunes at home because that would be kind of stupid and it’s not something that I’d really want to do either. When you’re playing live you get a buzz every time and the crowd gets you going like. And also when you’re playing an instrument you’re concentrating on actually performing well so you don’t have time to think about much else. Playing to big audiences is enough to get me buzzing about the tunes. I remember I went to see Ground Hog performing their album Spirit live and they thundered through it and I was like ‘what the hell is this, man’. There was no passion at all. So yeah, I still get the same buzz out of performing tunes now..

We’re a London-centric magazine – how do you view the north-south divide and the musical difference between the two?
I don’t think anyone knows where bands come from these days anyway. Well let me think, I suppose some people probably know Arctic Monkeys come from Sheffield. And to be honest I think the whole idea of ‘scenes’, so to speak, is bullshit. It’s pretty much the media that creates these things. I like what’s coming out of America at the moment though.

What bands are you listening to right now then?
I’m really into a band called The Wooden Ships. I also like Black Angels, who sound sort of early Floydy/Hawk Wind, slightly drony with a trippy element to it. This is the stuff I’m kind of into at the moment. You know that drony stuff you get, maybe I’m getting old but I’m really into it these days.


You used to play in a club called Eric’s in the ’80s, do you think there are any equivalent venues existing today?
There’s quite a few, to be honest. There’s a great place called Kazamir. A while back it used to be one of those clubs in the ’80s full of footballers and the posey types if you know what I mean who came in to pick up girls. But now it is very intimate and plays good music and has this really nice balcony that goes around the place. I go there now and then with pals. There’s also a cool place called The Shipping Forecast that’s got a bit of a hip interior. The Masque is also well worth a visit.

Speaking of Eric’s – did you watch the play that was on at the Everyman Theatre a few years back? Do you think it was an accurate interpretation of what the Liverpool music scene was like at the time?
I never got round to seeing it, but I met the guy who played me. The whole thing was quite funny really.

You’re also an artist. What kind of art are you into?
I mainly do screen-printing, but this morning I was hanging about waiting to do these interviews and decided to do some pen and ink pieces.

So it’s purely a hobby?
It’s just something I’ve always liked to do – messing about with different ideas in my head when I get home. I’ve taken a lot artistic inspiration from bands like the Talking Heads who’ve got an artistic element to them – it depends on what you perceive as being art. I’ve always tried new stuff out. A while back in 1980 I did a series of postcards for an exhibition at the Arnolfini in Bristol. With art it depends how I’m feeling and what mood I’m in.

When in London, where do you most like to visit?
Tate Modern is the first place I go to as it’s always got stuff I’m interested in. I also like to go to a place in Highgate called The Boogaloo. Now and then I play the odd DJ set there or whatever. It’s got a really groovy atmosphere. But to be frank, I haven’t been to London for a while now, I haven’t really got the time.


Sat 24              Manchester Palace Theatre           0844 847 2275

Sun 25             Birmingham Symphony Hall           0121 780 3333

Mon 26           London Palladium                             0207 403 3331

Wed 28           Glasgow Royal Concert Hall           0844 499 9990

Thu 29             York Grand Opera House                0844 847 2322

Fri 30               Liverpool Philharmonic Hall            0151 709 3789


Available at www.gigsandtours.com  & www.ticketmaster.co.uk

24hr cc hotline 0844 811 0051 & 0844 826 2826

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